Volunteers relocate IOP sea turtle’s endangered eggs

Mary Pringle of the Island Turtle Team confirms a loggerhead nest in an Isle of Palms dune outside The Windjammer.

ISLE OF PALMS — The loggerhead sea turtle had just laid 101 eggs by the beach volleyball court at The Windjammer, dodging an umbrella and chair to do it.

Island Turtle Team volunteers came across the female Wednesday in a tidal pool as she struggled to get back to the ocean

“She was tired. We walked side by side with her to get her out to the ocean,” said Staci Sarkowski, who has wanted to come across a loggerhead after birth since she began volunteering with the team four years ago. “It was awesome. I was definitely giddy about it.”

It’s looking like the banner year in the state that biologists anticipated for nesting by threatened or endangered sea turtles. Nearly 1,400 nests had been reported by Wednesday, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources website. That’s on pace with some of the best nesting years in the state, with a month or two of nesting still to go.

Nine loggerhead nests have been laid already on the IOP beach, only two short of the total for 2014.

The Windjammer nest was the second in three years to be laid outside the popular beach bar and restaurant. Team volunteers re-nested the eggs in a safer location.

“Right in front of The Windjammer isn’t the best option for a nest,” Sarkowski said.

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